Making a sugar board for your bees can provide extra food for them if their honey stores run low and can provide peace of mind for you as you fret about them during the cold months. It also absorbs moisture from the hive and can prevent condensation.
I originally posted this recipe a couple years ago before I was making videos and tutorials.
The next time I make one, I will be sure to get some photos and videos of each step so that I can update this post.
For now, here's the text version of how we make our sugar boards. This recipe can easily be scaled down if you just need a small spring 'hive saver'.
What you need
You will need 5kg of sugar, 250mL apple cider vinegar, and a small slash of bee pro health (optional)
You also need a 1” deep form of the same dimensions as the hive you are going to put it on (19 7/8 x 16 1/4 for a normal langstroth hive), two pieces of plywood in those same dimensions, a 5 gal bucket, a sledge hammer, and either a paint mixer on a drill or a very strong mixing stick and some ambitious biceps.
How to make your sugar board:
Honestly, collecting all that stuff was the hard part! The rest is pretty easy. You will want to do this in a warm, dry spot.
1. Put the 1” form on top of one piece of plywood.
2. Put sugar in the bucket
3. Add ACV and BPH
4. Mix (ok, maybe this is the hard part if you don’t have a paint mixer) until crumbly
5. Dump into the form and push around to fill corners
6. Put the second piece of plywood on top and step on it to squish the mix down.
7. Use the sledge hammer to pack it down. This works best if you don’t swing it over your head, but hold it so it’s hanging upside down between your feet and hitting with the top of the hammer. Pack it well!
8. Remove the top piece of plywood and allow to set for 48 hours in a warm, dry place. The longer the better, so you can let it sit, but don’t rush it!
This goes right on top of the hive box (scrape any burr comb and remove pollen patties to let it sit flat), and the inner cover goes on top of the sugar.
If it cracks or crumbles once it’s on the hive, that’s ok, but you should NOT plan on opening the hive up again till spring once this is on.
If they don’t eat it, just dissolve the sugar into syrup to feed your spring splits!